What would be the top three things for a photographer to own? Good and expensive gear maybe? I'd loved to shoot with a Hasselblad or some other digital medium format camera, but no, in my opinion gear is not on the top of this list. So what then? Here's my list:
1. The ability to see! Usually a photographer can see of course, but what I mean by seeing is not just seeing the obvious, but also being able to notice light, shapes, how the subject is related to the background, colors, what to include in to the frame and what to leave out, story etc. The list probably could go on and on. Camera is just an instrument to capture the light, but the photographer has to have a vision and to be able to see so that the image will have an impact on the viewer.
2. Good social / communicating skills! Imagine a situation when the photographer won't talk to the model! Our talent might feel a bit uncomfortable during the shoot, most likely resulting in mediocre or even bad photos. But if the photographer is constantly communicating with the model, giving direction of course, but also talking in general about this and that, the model will probably feel relaxed and good in front of the camera and thus her/his performance will also be much better and this will be seen in the final images.
3. Self-discipline! This also is important. It's not so that the shoots will always go as you plan. Your model gets sick and the shoot is canceled. You or the model is stuck in the traffic and you have postpone the start of shoot. Someone is just having a bad day. Often it would be nice to just go and shoot, shoot and shoot, but then you need to plan, you have to do some editing, keep in touch with clients and taking care of the business side, marketing and all that photography related paperwork, and the list goes on. Only by showing some self control you can be a successful photographer.
These three things are not available in the shop, you can't order them online. For some part you could have some tuition, maybe in form of a course, to shape for instance social skills or ability to see, but in the end the only way to own these three things is to practice and practice a lot. In the beginning it might feel difficult, but in the end you'll notice that these qualities or things will make so much more to your photography than a new expensive camera or a lens could ever could do. So hardware is nice, but it's not the only thing and most likely not the most important thing that will make you a good photographer.
Last Friday I had a chance to practice number 1 and 2 on this list with Emma. A nice couple of hours in the center of Helsinki. Here's a few images from that shoot...